baseball

Morris brothers enjoy memorable summer matchups

Photos by Ray Hamill/HumboldtSports.com – Keenan Morris in action for the Humboldt Eagles this summer.

By Ray Hamill — It’s been a good summer on the baseball fields for the Morris brothers, and one they won’t easily forget for one reason in particular.

“We got to play against each other for the first time,” said older brother Aidan, who is in his second season with the Humboldt Crabs. “It was a really cool experience. It was a lot of fun.”

Younger brother Keenan, who just graduated from Eureka High, spent the summer playing for the Humboldt Eagles and Redding Tigers, each of which played the Crabs at the Arcata Ball Park.

Keenan also enjoyed the games against his brother, but as a member of the visiting team on each occasion he remembers it a little differently.

“That was amazing. I got to see some amazing pitching and I got to see what the next level will be like,” he said, before adding with a chuckle that “it was an amazing atmosphere, except when I got heckled.”

Both players have played a pivotal role for their respective teams this summer.

Aidan is batting .225 for the 38-6 Crabs, who close out their season this weekend, and has been a tough out for much of the summer with 25 walks, second best on the team, and an on-base percentage of .432.

He also has two home runs on the season, coincidently the first the team hit back in early June and the most recent last Sunday, the latter of which broke the Crabs record for most home runs by the team in a single season with a wood bat (41).

“That was awesome to be a part of and to be able to experience,” Aidan said. “That was a good team record.”

Aidan will return to Bethel University in Tennessee next week, with eyes on a big upcoming season after a medical red-shirt this past year.

Aidan Morris makes a catch in the outfield for the Humboldt Crabs on Wednesday night.

The 2017 Eureka graduate, who played at Santa Rosa JC before transferring to Bethel, has had to endure his share of injuries over the past few years, but says he is healthy again and looking forward to returning to Tennessee.

“I’m fully health now, so hopefully I can put it together and have a good year,” he said. “Tennessee is different, but it’s fun. It’s a really good school and we’ve got a great team.”

Keenan will follow in his brother’s footsteps and will play at Santa Rosa this coming year, with eyes on moving on to a four-year program after that.

“My brother went there and my coach (at Eureka) Jeff Giacomini went there, so I’ve been talking to people about it for a while,” he said of Santa Rosa. “And it’s kind of been my top choice.

“Their coach (Damon Neidlinger) is super straight forward and it’s a hard-working program, and they get guys and send them on to four-year programs. It’s a super solid program.”

Keenan, who will play with Fortuna graduate Branson Gans at Santa Rosa, is coming off a stellar high school career, where he was one of the Loggers’ most consistent threats at the plate and on defense since breaking into the team as a freshman.

Keenan Morris playing for the Humboldt Eagles last summer.

And he says his older teammates played a huge role in helping him become the player he is today.

“Probably the most memorable thing was winning the Charlie Lakin tournament in my freshman year,” he said. “That was probably my favorite team to be on.

“The older guys were a lot of fun to be around. It was a really good environment.”

In particular, Keenan says, players like current Crabs starter Ethan Fischel helped him in his freshman season when Fischel was a senior at Eureka.

Aidan, meanwhile, says he has enjoyed playing for the Crabs this summer, and one aspect of the experience in particular.

“It blew by, but it’s been a super fun summer,” he said. “And it’s great that fans have been able to be there for us. They’ve been showing up for every game, always supporting us.”

And, of course, it’s always nice to play for a winning team.

“This group of guys has been amazing,” he added. “It always is. And it’s always a community effort with the Crabs. We have great coaches, a great training staff, and the board is always working really hard … it’s just a great all-around experience, and winning is pretty awesome.”

Aidan Morris will return to Bethel University in Tennessee next week.

Playing for the Eagles has also been an experience Keenan appreciates.

“That’s been really fun,” he said. “I’ve had some good coaches that really helped me develop and get me to where I need to be. It’s definitely helped prepare me for college.”

And as he prepares for the move to college, Keenan hopes to be back playing on the North Coast again in the future

“I’d like to play at Santa Rosa for a year or two and move on to a four-year program,” he said. “And hopefully be able to come back and play for the Crabs or the B52s.”

Aidan, meanwhile, is eager to enjoy one final weekend with the Crabs this summer, before turning his attention back to college.

“We’re on a pretty good streak right now,” he said. “The last weekend is always kind of sad because players are leaving. But we just want three more wins and three more fun days at the ball park.”

The Crabs play the Sacramento Yankees in a three-game series, which gets under way on Friday night and closes out Sunday afternoon.

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